Future Architects Take Bike Tour Around Campus

Urban Design students exploring the campus on bikes

Momen El Husseiny, assistant professor in the Department of Architecture, decided to take experiential learning to a new level. He took his Urban Design and Landscape Architecture students on a bike ride around the outdoor spaces surrounding campus to discuss the infrastructure of bikeways in the city and how to think of sustainable mobility, instead of just displaying the information on projectors inside the classroom.

The students gathered, rented their bikes and started and began their on-the-ground experience: one-way and two-lane paths, the different types of protected bike lanes, shared streets, bike circulation loops, the benefits of biking in post-fossil cities, bike-and-ride system in transportation, catchment areas, shared-bicycles system, bicycle facilities and their requirements, hierarchy of users in the street, the right of way, tactile materials, traffic calming, street intersections design for safe crossing with cars, vane grills and how to design bike lanes in a hot, arid climate.

"I wanted the students to map what they experienced in the bike tour on a base map and generate a SWOT analysis. It is a way to test their abilities in cognitive mapping on what I have been training them since the beginning of the semester, but in a different context and based on a quick experiential activity," said El-Husseiny

The students were also given the opportunity to integrate the rich campus facilities and animate its vast landscape into pedagogy.

Besides the major learning objectives of this bike-ride, "it was such a refreshing experience for the students to smell the fresh breeze of the air and the freshness of the fruit trees on their bikes in the midst of a stressful time of the semester, while practically learning more about the bike lanes’ design standards," El-Husseiny noted.

"A student told me it was the first time to watch sunset at the park and square [of the Department of the Arts] as the sun dropped down the horizon in a dramatic scene at the tip of the campus." said El-Husseiny